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Press Release


Mark Twain Travel Agency Receives 2019 Best of Elmira Award

Elmira Award Program Honors the Achievement

ELMIRA August 29, 2019 -- Mark Twain Travel Agency has been selected for the 2019 Best of Elmira Award in the Cruise Agency category by the Elmira Award Program.

Each year, the Elmira Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Elmira area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2019 Elmira Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Elmira Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Elmira Award Program

The Elmira Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Elmira area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Elmira Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community's contributions to the U.S. economy.

SOURCE: Elmira Award Program

Elmira Award Program


August 1, 2019

Dear Valued Traveler:

Effective August 30th, 2019, Mark Twain Travel is adopting a new home-based travel platform. Nothing will change except for the fact that we will no longer be a "brick and mortar" business. All current bookings will be monitored. New bookings will be accepted. You will continue to be updated with any pertinent information regarding current or future travel. Documents will be sent, and payments will be processed.

We recognize that some of you do enjoy face to face meetings. Please know that those can still be arranged. Just ask and we will coordinate a mutually convenient time and place to get together!

Again, nothing other than our location will change…not our phone number, not our email, and especially not our commitment to providing great service!!!

We thank you for your business to date and look forward to continuing to help make your special travel memories...


Joan R. Appel and Staff

Joan Appel

         Traveling is a passion.  I developed mine at a young age when my parents would pack my sister, Sheri, and me into the back of our old Studebaker for sojourns that criss-crossed the United States.  As my sister and I aged, and my parents had more time and discretionary income, their trips became more elaborate and took them to places further a field.  Their stories, pictures (and the results of their shopping) nurtured the seed they had planted.  I luckily married a man, Bill Reilly, who has a great sense of adventure and a passion for food and wine that rivals the one I have for travel.   Thus, as a team, we set out to eat and drink our way around the world.  When we began traveling we used the services of Mark Twain Travel, then owned by Bob and Gloria Baker. We used Mark Twain Travel as the Baker’s and their staff were well traveled.  We liked the fact that when we spoke to them about a destination they could share information from personal experience, not from a brochure.   When the Bakers opted to retire they suggested that we turn our travel avocation into a vocation.  We did so in 1990.  Since that time we have tried to remain true to the model they started. It is our belief that people will feel more secure, confident and at ease if they plan a trip with someone that has personal travel knowledge and experience.  To this end, I would like to share Bill’s and my non North American travel resume. Each of our staff will “introduce” themselves separately and will share their own travel resumes*.  Although each of us will “introduce” ourselves individually, please know that we will work together with you as a team to insure that you get the best information and assistance. We look forward to sharing our experiences and to working with you as you develop your own special travel memories. 

*The Century Travel Club allows one to count as a country “visited” one that a person has “landed at or traveled through”.   Neither our staff nor we include those in our resumes. See below.


Lynette Saunders

      I have been a member of the Mark Twain Travel team since 2008.  I previously have worked in the bus charter business, chartering and hosting bus trips to casinos, NYC trips, as well as baseball games.  I also have worked in international sales, which is how I first began using Mark Twain Travel's services.


      My husband and I have been traveling for the past 36 years, taking vacations to Hawaii, Aruba, as well as cruising to the Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Alaska, the Hawaiian Islands, and Bermuda.  Our first cruise was in 1993 and from that date on, have cruised at least once a year, many times including our boys, who now have the cruise bug too.


      Most recently, since becoming a travel consultant, I have had the pleasure of visiting Punta Cana, Jamaica, Cancun, Las Vegas, and Ireland.  Since cruising is my first love, I have had the privilege of helping many people plan a fun and memorable cruise vacation.



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